Nursing professor awarded Clinical and Translational Science Institute funding

Brooke Killmon
June 19, 2020

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — The Penn State Clinical and Translational Science Institute (CTSI) has granted a Bridges to Translation pilot project funding award to an interdisciplinary team of researchers who will assess person-centered care for LGBTQ older adults. This team is co-led by Britney Wardecker, assistant professor in Penn State’s College of Nursing.

The institute serves as a bridge between the University’s scientists and clinical researchers and promotes collaboration to uncover new treatments, medical procedures, and ways to diagnose disease. With an emphasis on funding programs for exploration of unique ideas, the team’s research delves into the health disparities of older LGBTQ adults and their healthcare experiences. With the LGBTQ community being historically underrepresented and overlooked in aging services, policies and research, Wardecker and colleagues feel it is critical to bring light to sexual minorities’ aging and health experiences.

The research will sample older LGBTQ community members residing in the greater Philadelphia area and will be conducted along with Jes Matsick, co-PI and jointly appointed assistant professor of psychology and women’s, gender, and sexuality studies; Rabbi Steelman, co-investigator, staff chaplain, and founder and director of the LGBT+ Initiatives and Task Force at Abramson Senior Care; and Kimberly Van Haitsma, co-investigator, associate professor of nursing, and director of the Program for Person-Centered Living Systems of Care at Penn State.

“Our proposed project takes a critical next step in understanding how to best care for LGBTQ older adults and could result in a tool that reduces LGBTQ health disparities and improves healthcare experiences for LGBTQ older adults.” said Wardecker. “We are excited to have an opportunity to partner with a vibrant and diverse community of LGBTQ older adults in Philadelphia to develop and co-design items for care and living preferences that reflect the needs of people with various sexual and gender identities.”

With more than an anticipated 10 million older adults identifying as LGBTQ residing in the U.S. by 2030, the need increases to develop and validate proper healthcare and living preferences that reflect the needs of people with various sexual and gender identities. LGBTQ older adults consistently report more mental and physical health problems compared to their non-LGBTQ counterparts, largely due to experiencing excess social stress, such as social rejection and denial of civil rights.

Honoring people’s individuality in their care preferences is associated with better health outcomes, according to the research team, which hopes that its newly developed and validated instrument can be of great use for healthcare workers in providing person-centered care across healthcare settings and with people of various sexual orientations and gender identities.

Read more about the CTSI and the programs they support here.

(Media Contacts)

Last Updated April 15, 2021